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How to: Incorporate a Lost Loved One

Weddings bring together your most cherished loved ones.   From distant relatives, immediate family, and close friends; an absence will be most noticeable on this day.   Here are a few ways to affectionately include those you cannot be there in body but are there in spirit.


  1. Verbally – It’s important not to let the tribute to your loved one cast a melancholy over your big day. If your loss was fairly recent, or you still get very choked up thinking about them, you may not be ready to verbally make reference to them on this day.

If you are really gung-ho on making a speech, carefully choose an appropriate time to reference the loved one. Perhaps include your fiancé in the deliverance in case you get choked up, they can finish it for you.  Standing at the alter about to say “I do” and becoming inconsolable as you pay your respects is not the way that moment should go down. If, at that moment, you do shed tears, it should be for happiness, not sorrow.  You can also ask the officiant to say a few words for you as they have most likely done this before and can assist with the wording and timing.

  1. Wearing something that belonged to them such as jewellery, veil or wedding dress. You can also place a tiny framed photo into your bouquet or attach it with a ribbon.
  2. Choosing to carry their favourite flowers or have them included in the arrangements.
  3. Incorporating a colour that reminds you of them into your theme or outfit (shoes or belt work well).
  4. Dancing to one of their favourite songs.
  5. Serving one of their recipes.
  6. Include a short poem or letter in your programs with the names.
  7. If you are doing a Bride and Groom slide show, include pictures with the lost loved one. Or add a framed photo or digital frame (set to slide show) of that person with a small acknowledgment and include it on the reception table.
  8. Leave an open spot where the loved one would have been included in the ceremony and/or reception to symbolize that they are so important, they could not be replaced. For example, if a father has passed, a Bride may choose not to have someone else accompany her down the aisle. Or leave an empty chair with a photo or bouquet.